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Sprinks PPC and Sprinks Content
Anyone have experience with Sprinks & Content Sprinks?

 2:38 am on Jun 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am sure this question has probably been posted before, but could not find a link to it, so here goes.

I have tried Sprinks off and on; do not see much about it here on Webmaster World. I find it somewhat expensive re ROI for my terms, given how little some keywords cost, but I also use the Content Sprinks (ads appear on Forbes, Ivillage, etc), which seems to bump up cost considerably.

Does anyone have experience with Sprinks and how do you judge it re ROI?



 2:37 pm on Jun 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

With Spinks you have to be careful as they have a lot of small partners which can burn your budget.

I just made a new campaign for Sprinks, and even with bids $0.30-0.1.15 less than OV/GG, I had three consecutive days where my Sprinks account was costing more than my OV/GG accounts combined. I contacted Sprinks, they investigated, credited me the money, and then blocked two referrers which were sending "bad" traffic.

They have the potential to send you a lot of traffic, but it does require some close monitoring for the first month you have your account, and often a few calls/emails to them to determine where you want your account listed with their partners.

I've found that my content Sprinks ads run a conversion rate slightly higher than my highly targeted traffic on GG/OV, and Sprinks conversion is about the same.


 5:50 pm on Jun 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks. Your experience matches mine given how little I have the ability to know for certain because of my lack of tech skills. I also have a fast burn of the money, but my sales did pick up. I really don't have the technological knowledge to track the ROI on them, but I suspected they might have a very good conversion rate because of their presence on I village and Forbes and other quality websites. However, the burn rate still concerns me, I just can't prove fraud....


 8:33 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is very hard to determine ROI on any of the PPC programs. I like Sprinks because the clickers are mostly pre-qualified. If you try PPC on Overture or Google, you get a lot of clickers who were just searching for "purple-widgets" without any intent of buying some. With Sprinks a lot of times you get someone who was searching for "purple-widgets," found About and the affiliated sites and then saw your link for people serious about "purple-widgets" and looking to buy.

I get a lot of clickers viewing a single page when they come in off of Overture and Google. The ones who come in off of Sprinks usually view a lot of pages. I currently don't use Google, use Overture on a fixed monthly budget to bring in fresh visitors, and use Sprinks sporadically to bump up sales.


 9:19 pm on Jun 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmm... sure is quiet when it comes to Sprinks. Does that sum it up?

Anyone else care to share their experience?


 9:49 pm on Jun 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

We've used them, we didn't like the traffic. We stopped using them.

Quality/quantity issue.
Poor ROI.
We're too busy to be chasing for refunds (although if we get rogue clicks we do chase).


 11:04 pm on Jun 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the latest replies. All counts. I just have had this suspicion because of the high burn rate whenever I use their auto replenish feature. It goes out of sight compared to Overture and FindWhat, even Google.


 4:14 pm on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

How do Sprinks advertisers feel about the new Google AdSense program, which puts AdWords banners or skyscrapers on content sites' pages.

IMHO, one big advantage of AdSense is the way it targets ads to the content of the page (as determined by a Google crawler), not just to the theme of the site. As the owner of a content site, I've been amazed by how quickly AdSense was able to start displaying ads for barge cruises in my article on barge cruises, ads for Silversea cruises in an article on Silversea cruises, and so on. The targeting isn't perfect, but it's surprisingly good.


 7:27 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

The Google AdSense program seems to be good for those who sell a product over the net. My clients who sell these types of products have been pleased with the additional exposure.

For those who are advertising brick and mortar services, especially in a few particular keyword areas, have not gotten a good ROI or even exposure from the AdSense program. In the past week, I've got one site whose ads have gotten over 43,000 impressions from google adwords, and 4 impressions from adsense.

On the other hand, the content sprinks (which would be the closest thing to adsense as it's topic specific) brings in a significant number of sales per week.


 8:46 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Quality/quantity issue.
Poor ROI.
We're too busy to be chasing for refunds (although if we get rogue clicks we do chase).

*cough* fraud *cough*


I'll have to say, they can be quick to issue a refund if you challenge them.


 1:56 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Did anyone see this:

Explains how Sprinks will outperform AdSense and Overture's content targeting product....


 2:36 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Very interesting article Keeper thanks!

From what I picked up with q quick read the argument is being made that contextualising by site is better than contextualizing by page, mainly because if the content of a page changes OV and Adsense will take a longer time to pick it up.

I guess that is why Google says Adsense works best on static pages. I guess there are also advantages to the "page theme targeted" methodology as well, and other disadvantages to the "site theme targeted" method as EuropeforVisitors points out, and at the moment by initial feeling is that the jury is still out, and if Adsense can convince people to use their code on static pages mainly, or increase their adsense spidering intervals, page targeting may well outperform site theme targeting.


 11:17 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Site-targeted ads may be more relevant than page-targeted ads on news and other general-interest sites, but so what? Those big general-interest sites aren't the best venue for targeted advertising in the first place.

Let's say you're using text ads to sell bookings at a resort in Thailand. Would you rather run a Sprink on MSNBC.com or an AdSense ad on a Thailand travel site (or at least a Far Eastern travel site)? I think it's pretty obvious which would convert better.

Large general-interest Web sites are a bit like large general-interest magazines and TV networks: They may be good for branding, or for selling beer, cars, and other products or services that are aimed at the mass market. But for niche products and services, you need niche media. That's why camera dealers buy their 8-page mail-order ads in POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY, not NEWSWEEK.


 12:30 am on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Re: EuropeforVisitors response: "Site-targeted ads may be more relevant than page-targeted ads on news and other general-interest sites, but so what? Those big general-interest sites aren't the best venue for targeted advertising in the first place. (and etc) "

Thanks Europe for Vistiors. That is a pretty good observation regarding advertising in general. And probably helps explain the high number of visits brought by Sprinks, but the not great sales, relative to those visits.

Frankly, I have to say, I am not that impressed with any of the PPCs and the sales that result from all those clicks, with perhaps the exception of Google.

But that is just a guestimate on Google based on customers who answer a question I have on my order form that asks them to state the search engine that brought them to me. Very unscientific I know, but out of 100 who bother to respond, 90 say Google. The rest, for the most part, say Yahoo.

Only problem is, I cannot tell in those responses which come from paid ads, and which from my free listings, which are usually # 1 or at worst #5 on Google and Yahoo.


 3:45 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone. I'm new to the forums and a member of the Sprinks marketing department.

Re: EuropeforVisitors again - if you're selling hotel bookings in France, you would want to target travel topics related to your offerings like Europe, particularly France. With Sprinks, you have the opportunity to buy topics such niche topics: France, Greece, Ireland, etc. If you like, you can also go a bit broader by purchasing the Europe topic. If you only buy the France topic, your listings appear only on our partners' travel editorial pages which are about France. Not about travel in general, as you had assumed.

Like About.com, sites like MSNBC and Netscape have niche topics to which we map our ContentSprinks topics. We take those ContentSprinks topics and map them carefully to specific editorial pages on our partners. So in effect, you will not be reaching a general-interest audience unless you buy a broad topic (like Europe or Travel).


 4:38 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Sprinks_Rep.

So am I correct in assuming the target pages are hand picked by the Sprinks team, not automatically picked? How scalable is that approach? Does Sprinks have any plans on broadening partner sites to include also smaller sites?


 6:45 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sprinks_Rep wrote:

Like About.com, sites like MSNBC and Netscape have niche topics to which we map our ContentSprinks topics. We take those ContentSprinks topics and map them carefully to specific editorial pages on our partners. So in effect, you will not be reaching a general-interest audience unless you buy a broad topic (like Europe or Travel).

The way Sprinks are used on About.com illustrates my point: they aren't nearly as targeted as AdSense ads are, and they aren't always on topic.

For example, at About.com's goeurope site, the lead story this week is about a castle in Tuscany. But if you click on that article, the Sprinks are for apartments in barcelona, an adventure-travel company, Orbitz, and a general European hotel-booking company. None of the sponsored links has anything to do with Tuscany. With AdSense, it's more than likely that text ads for Tuscany (or at least Italy) would be on the page.

Similarly, if you visit the goeurope site's article on "Travel Photography 101 - How to Take Better Pictures," you get the same Sprinks for Barcelona apartments, adventure travel, and so on. Now, it's possible that someone reading about travel photography might be spending a week in Barcelona or planning an adventure tour, but it's a lot more likely that he or she is a prospect for a camera, film, processing, or a large-capacity memory card to hold a vacation's worth of digital photos.

Targeting isn't all that much better on a more narrowly-focused About.com site like gofrance. Of the four Sprinks that are currently displayed on that site, only two are about France (the others include the aforementioned "Apartments in Barcelona" Sprink and the one for Orbitz). And if you drill down to the River Barging page (or if--as is more likely--you find it via an About.com or Google search), you'll see the same batch of generic Sprinks. The only way a barge-cruise operator could advertise on the gofrance site would be to have Sprinks on every page, which would result in a lower clickthrough rate and (of more concern) a lower conversion rate per clickthrough.

Sprinks have their place, and they're certainly appropriate for relatively broad-spectrum advertisers like Orbitz or a company that offers hotel bookings in many different countries. But those Sprinks advertisers of Barcelona apartment rentals and adventure tours will be a lot better off with AdWords and AdSense unless Sprinks does a much better job of targeting on MSNBC and Netscape than it does on About.com.


 8:13 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Another thought on Sprinks vs. AdSense:

The two programs aren't so much direct competitors as they are overlapping competitors. Like traditional banner ads, Sprinks--and Overture Content Match ads, for that matter--can be targeted to theme of a site (travel) or even a section of a site (European travel). They may work better than AdSense for mass-market advertising, but they can't begin to compete with AdSense for highly targeted advertising.

1) Ads that might work well with Sprinks or Overture Content Match:

- Orbitz

- Mystic Labs (photo processing for the masses)

- Carnival Cruises (generating inquiries for a cruise line with everything from mass-market Caribbean cruises to Seabourn luxury cruises)

2) Ads that might work well with Google AdSense:

- Air New Zealand

- B&H Photo Video (a leading mail-order camera supplier for enthusiasts and professionals)

- European Waterways (a company that offers barge cruises in Europe)

Obviously, there's some overlap, but--overall--one type of advertising is geared to the mass market and the other is more suited to the needs of niche advertisers and their audiences.


 9:29 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Re: 16, Heini.

Yes, manually mapping editorial pages is a scalable process for us. We have staff dedicated to each of our partners. By working with our partners diligently before we actually roll Sprinks listings out onto their pages, we can achieve the type of contextual targeting advertisers (and partners) are looking for. We currently work with the top destination sites on the web and will continue to do so. However, we will consider partnering with a small site if it is of quality content and well-known within its community.

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